Writing Challenge: Mind the gap: The blame game

24 Apr

Does watching violent movies inspire violence in the real world?

comfortably numb

comfortably numb (Photo credit: Will Lion)

If you’re going to blame violence in films or on TV then we may as well jump in and point the finger at the parents while we are at it… I mean these kids are obviously being allowed to watch it by these irresponsible parents so lets blame them… Right? Wrong! Kids will get hold of things if they want them badly enough, I also believe that sheltering them from violence is just as damaging as exposing them to it (on screen) because – as much as we don’t like to admit it- this shit happens in the real world; just watch the news! – or are we blaming reports of world events for messing us up too? Sometimes it’s best to have an idea of what really goes on in the world – even if only to prepare or protect yourself,

I recently read a book about the cases of Fred and Rose West -My husband read it first and I followed suit. He was more disturbed by it than I was and was surprised that I could read it to the end. Why is that? Is it because I’m a monster whom has some sick need to read all the gruesome details for myself? No. Is it because I’ve been subjected to too many horror films or violent films and am now desensitised to this kind of thing? No. Or is it because I’ve got the mindset to be able to differentiate between right and wrong? Because I’ve seen this kind of stuff in films and read about it in newspapers; because I vaguely remember it being shown on the news when it all happened so I kind of had forewarning of what I was about to read whilst my husband went into it without any idea of what to expect.


Blame (Photo credit: !anaughty!)

Fred and Rose West were both sexually abused as kids, in fact for them it was so “normal” that even in adult life Fred would often have threesomes with his wife and her own father. In turn they sexually abused their children too – along with numerous women whom were then tortured and killed – usually simultaneously. So in this case – if we are playing the blame game- isn’t it their parents fault for starting the “trend”? For making something as horrific as sexual abuse seem “ok” ? Their parents fault, their grandparents… Their great grandparents… ? Someone must have started It… Someone has to be to blame… Right? Why?

How did that pattern start? Was it thanks to someone higher in their family tree watching too many abusive films and thinking it looked like a great idea…probably not. What about the murders? Their parents (obviously) didn’t do that to them so where does that come from? Maybe these abusive parents let them watch murder films… Just like the parents of Jack the Ripper or Lizzie Borden did…Yeah I bet that’s it(!)

Like most children in the 80s I grew up surrounded by cartoons, I watched the coyote repeatedly plant acme bombs and hoist pianos to catch – and ultimately obliterate- the roadrunner to end some long standing vendetta…(or just so he could eat him…maybe I missed the point) but regardless I never considered doing the same (attempted murder) when someone screwed me over…In fact it taught quite the opposite, revenge is draining, it’s more effort than its worth and it doesn’t always make things better. If the coyote had been successful once I think the world would have been disgusted but even then… It’s a cartoon… it was entertaining… It wasn’t real and it isn’t morally right.

express delivery(07-05-15)

express delivery(07-05-15) (Photo credit: jijis)

I watched numerous characters wolf their dinner down in one gulp … Yet I take my time with my meals and I’m not overweight; I watched Tom and Jerry Hit each other with over sized frying pans… Yet I’ve  only ever used one used to cook with. I witnessed happy ending after happy ending in every Disney film out there… We read about Romeo and Juliet at school- and then watched it repeatedly but I didn’t go out and drink poison when my boyfriend left. Yes I could relate to the feeling of sheer desperation and heartbreak but ultimately that film taught me that Leonardo Dicaprio looks like even more of a girl when he cries, arranged marriages aren’t that great and that their version of the royal mail express delivery service is just as unreliable as the one we have today… Shoot the messenger if you will.

I think my childhood viewing/reading/exposure was pretty standard to be honest and I turned out alright…despite the sex, violence, drug abuse and sickly sweet happy endings i witnessed time after time (in films etc) One of my Favourite films growing up was Leon… (a very adult film for a pre teen) But I’m not a hit man OR hanging out with a man 4 times my age… (to be fair he would be dead by now if he were that old.) I played Mario kart and GTA Yet I don’t drive around like a mad woman -ok maybe I do but I’m certainly not picking up hookers, shagging them and then killing them to get my money back despite doing it every time I played…and why not? Because we grow up, the majority of us differentiate between reality and fiction or fantasy. Our parents, our friends, the characters we see on screen tell us right and wrong, they teach us morals…amongst other things. We grow, we learn and we live well rounded lives.

But there are those who don’t.

Call of Duty

Call of Duty (Photo credit: FireFish45)

Did that wife watch one too many horror films before stabbing her physically abusive husband to death? Did that kid play too much Call of Duty before shooting a classmate who bullied him relentlessly day after day? Did that girl watch Romeo and Juliet repeatedly before taking her life after a bad break up? Possibly, but its more likely that other things forced them to snap.

Humans have varying degrees of imagination, we interpret things differently and we make what we will of things; We also have different degrees of sanity, logic…morals or basic common sense…yes I suppose it is plausible for someone to take inspiration from a horror movie; just like its possible to be inspired by a love story… but I also feel that placing blame on someone or something is societies way of living in denial; of finding a reason behind bad things that happen…because it makes us feel better to ‘understand’ it.

Like it or not, many violent films are the result of real life happenings -or at least ‘inspired’ by them…perhaps thats the way we should be looking at it…does real life violence inspire violent movies? Of course it does! Its possible for it to work both ways but for someone to take that negative ‘inspiration’ from a violent film and put it into practice…to hurt another human… the chances are that there is a lot more going on with that person in the first place, a lot more to their story that we dont and probably wont ever fully understand…crazy people will always find something to ‘inspire’ them.


*Its been a long first half of the week so apologies if this is all over the place*


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10 responses to “Writing Challenge: Mind the gap: The blame game

  1. Kira

    April 24, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    I think your assessment is right on spot, B! Just like when my best friend and I watch the same movie together. She walked away from it fine, but a little broken piece inside of me rose to the surface and I had to deal with my emotional triggers that were pushed by the movie. There was something inside of me that reacted differently to the film than a “normal” person would. It is what we choose to do with our reactions that reveals what is going on inside of us! Thank goodness my way of dealing with my emotional baggage did not involve abusing or murdering anyone!

  2. greenembers

    April 24, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Good post. I stayed away from this, too hard without getting angry. I liked your last line. Crazy people will always find something to inspire them. It’s so true.

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 24, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Its a pity the line you liked was the one that wasnt written by me 😥 lol
      (There was a poll on the original challenge post and that line was one of the options)

      I almost didnt do this post either, i was tied up in it and struggling to find a direction but after playing around and changing stuff till my head couldnt make sense of anything anymore i figured i had spent too much time worrying about it to NOT press publish lol


      • greenembers

        April 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm

        Well it was still a well written piece and it did lead up to that. There were other bit’s I really liked too but then I would have to quote the whole thing, lol. Yup, I know exactly what you mean, sometimes you just got to let go and publish. 🙂

      • Comfortably Numb

        April 24, 2013 at 9:24 pm


  3. Samantha

    April 24, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I really like the way you phrased this, it takes good examples to gently show how ridiculous it is to think that violent media could be the primary trigger for real-life violence. 🙂 Thank you for linking to my article as well. 🙂

  4. beetleypete

    April 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    I am on a similar wavelength to you about this whole subject. I also read extensively about Fred and Rose West, and I was enthralled by the book, ‘Killing for Company’, about Dennis Nilsen. I have also watched many horror films, and films about killers, like John Wayne Gacey, or imaginary ones, as in the incredibly disturbing ‘Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer.’ I am old enough to have seen news coverage of people being killed in Vietnam, The Congo, and Angola, and spent many years in the Ambulance Service, witnessing horrific injuries, death, and violent crime, at first hand. So far, I have not done anything remotely horrible to anyone, and I would find it hard to kill a rabbit, even if I was starving. It is the minds of individuals where the changes happen. If there were no external stimulants, they would imagine it anyway.
    Great post B. Well done. As ever, Pete. X

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 24, 2013 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks Pete, well said! I WAS going to write more about chemical imbalance and hormones etc as i know from experience how ‘crazy’ i have been thanks to those…but i dont KNOW enough about it to make a point and to be fair I think my argument was long enough lol

  5. Anthony O'Day

    April 25, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Very nice piece. i wanted to write something about this in light of the last week, but couldn’t find it. Congrats. Enjoy your blog a great deal.


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